Friday, October 31, 2008

Georgia-Florida Preview and Prediction



Georgia vs Florida (Jacksonville, FL)
Saturday 3:30PM
Line: Florida -6.5

This game has BCS championship implications and SEC East Division ramifications. The winner of this game is likely headed to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship Game. After last year's on field celebration and upset by Georgia, the Bulldogs wrote a new chapter in this rivalry recently dominated by Florida.

Georgia Offense vs Florida Defense
Georgia's offense finally clicked last week against what was thought to be a tough defense in LSU. RB Knowshon Moreno is the catalyst and had another 100+yard game. That will be a key statistic for Bulldog fans to watch for this week. QB Matt Stafford had a solid game as well hooking up with his new favorite target WR A.J. Green. One weakness for UGA has been their offensive line. Last week, the young unit performed very well in Baton Rouge. But this unit has struggled and was pushed around by Alabama earlier in the year.

Florida's defense was a weak spot for them last year, but has vastly improved over the 2007 team. The Gators are allowing under 12 ppg and under 280 total yards of offense. LB Brandon Spikes is the leader of the defense. If there is a weak spot in this defense it is the secondary. Last year, this unit was very young and although they have improved breakdowns from this unit cost Florida its only loss of the year.


Florida Offense vs Georgia Defense
The Florida offense had a big awakening last week against a good defense in Kentucky. QB Tim Tebow is not having the year statistically he did last season, but that is fine with Urban Meyer because Tebow was beat up too much in '07. Although Florida does not have the inside runner they need, they have found a potent combination in Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps who have superb speed. Tebow will spread the ball around to multiple receivers including Rainey, and Demps, and the versatile Percy Harvin. The offensive line struggled with injuries early on, but is starting to come around. Any mention of scoring by Florida must be accompanied by a mention of KR Brandon James.

Georgia's defense has been the backbone of Mark Richt's success in Athens. The defense line awoke last week at LSU pressuring the Tiger QBs all day. LB Danell Ellerbe should be back this week from injury and his teammate Rennie Curran is one of the hardest hitters in the SEC. This talented front seven is allowing just 77 ypg on the ground. Like Florida's secondary, Georgia's is their weakness on defense. The unit is giving up over 22o ypg through the air.

Prediction
This game will be full of emotion from both sides. Georgia says they are planning something bigger than last year while Florida has talked about what the celebration and loss meant to them. I think this game will be high scoring like many are predicting. It reminds of USC-Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl with offensive talent on the field. I think this game comes down to who can run the ball the best. Last year, Georgia ran the ball every play on their opening drive and made a big statement. I thought Georgia would 1-1 against LSU and Florida and I still think that. Florida wins a wild one, but can't cover 6.5

Florida 35 Georgia 31
Georgia Covers 6.5

Last Week: 3-2 ATS, 3-2 SU
Season: 23-9-2 ATS, 23-11 SU

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Georgia Tech-Florida State Preview and Prediction


Florida State at Georgia Tech
Saturday 3:30 PM
Line: GT -2

FSU and Georgia Tech meet on Saturday in an important ACC showdown. The Seminoles are trying to maintain a first place tie in the Atlantic Division while Georgia Tech is trying to crawl back into the Coastal Division race. FSU has won 4 in a row while Georgia Tech had a 4 game winning streak stopped last week against Virginia.

FSU Offense vs Georgia Tech Defense
The FSU offense is improved over the last few years mainly due to a revived running game led by Antone Smith. Smith is helping FSU average close to 200 ypg on the ground. QB Christian Ponder has been slowly improving on the watch of OC Jimbo Fisher. Ponder is completing 57% of his passes with 9TD and 6INT. The FSU offensive line is young, but athletic.

Georgia Tech's defense had been carrying the team until last week when the unit could not get Virginia's offense off the field. The defensive line is one of the best in the ACC led by three seniors. The linebackers are a young group who is great against the run, but has struggled against the pass. The secondary is led by sophomore Morgan Burnett. This unit is very young though and could be starting two true freshman.

Georgia Tech Offense vs FSU Defense
Ga Tech's offense has had its ups and downs this season. QB Josh Nesbitt has had a similar season struggling with fumbles, but making plays with his feet. RB Jonathan Dwyer is a load at B-back, but around him the depth is thin. The offensive line has the toughest job learning the new system and executing it. Last week, the 0-line had a bad game and its play largely determines how well GT moves the ball.

For all the struggles of FSU over the past few years, the defense under DC Mickey Andrews has remained a constant. The run defense is very strong giving up under 80 ypg. The pass defense is a little less formidable, but not by much giving up 170 ypg. However, the strongest part of the FSU defense is their third down conversion where they are allowing under a 20% conversion rate.

Prediction
I thought Georgia Tech would lose 1 more game in the ACC, but I did not expect it to happen last week. The Seminoles are on a run and improving each week. This is a gut check week for Paul Johnson's team after last week. I think the Yellow Jackets play better this week, but it will not be enough against FSU's tough defense.

Florida State 23 Georgia Tech 20
FSU Covers +2

Last Week: 3-2 ATS, 3-2 SU
Season: 23-9-2 ATS, 23-11 SU

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Tennessee-South Carolina Preview and Prediction


Tennessee at South Carolina
Saturday 7PM ET
Line: South Carolina -6

The Volunteers and Gamecocks meet on Saturday night in an important game for bowl posturing in the SEC (well at least for South Carolina maybe). Tennessee is having a rough season and is in danger of missing a bowl for the second time in the last four seasons. South Carolina has come on stronger after a shaky start to the season.

Steve Spurrier always liked to poke at Phil Fulmer and Tennessee when he was at Florida. We have not heard as much out of the Old Ball Coach since he has been in Columbia (probably because he does not have near the talent). Still, this is a big for Spurrier and it may be the last stand for Fulmer at Tennessee.

Tennessee Offense vs South Carolina Defense
The Vols thought they were going to have a punishing ground game in 2008, but that has not materialized. The passing game is not doing a whole lot better with just 167 ypg through the air. Nick Stephens took over for Jonathan Crompton at QB, but has not fared much better in his starts. The offensive line returned most of the two deep from last year, but has been a huge disappointment also. Tennessee had had issues with turnovers at key times as well.

South Carolina boasts one of the best defenses in the SEC. The Gamecocks are allowing just 256 ypg total and just 140 ypg passing. Outside of the LSU game, South Carolina’s defense has held every other opponent to less yards than their offense..and the Gamecocks offense is not that good. The defense is led by LB Jasper Brinkley and DB Captain Munnerlyn.

South Carolina Offense vs Tennessee Defense
As bad as the UT rushing game has been, South Carolina’s is even worse averaging just a hair over 100 ypg. The revolving door at quarterback appears to have stopped on Stephen Garcia, but you never know with Steve Spurrier who says Chris Smelley will also play. Their favorite targets are Kenny McKinley and Jared Cook. The Gamecocks have done pretty well in the air averaging 240 ypg.

The Tennessee defense cannot shoulder much of the blame this season. They have been pretty stingy giving up fewer than 280 ypg of total offense. The strength of the defense is ball-hawking safety Eric Berry. The sophomore already leads the SEC in interception return yards and even may play some offense this week.

Prediction
I think South Carolina has improved over the year and Chris Smelley is starting to settle in at Quarterback. Tennessee has been so inept on offense it is hard to imagine them coming back if they get down. I will take South Carolina, but give the 6 to a desperate Tennessee team.

South Carolina 21 Tennessee 17
Tennessee Covers +6


Last Week: 3-2 ATS, 3-2 SU
Season: 23-9-2 ATS, 23-11 SU

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Clemson-Boston College Preview and Prediction


Clemson @ Boston College
Saturday 3:30PM

Line: BC -4

Boston College has been a thorn in Clemson’s side since the Eagles joined the ACC. Last season, Clemson looked to be on the verge of the elusive ACC Championship Game until BC upset them in Death Valley. Many things have changed since last season, including Clemson’s coach and ACC title aspirations. BC is coming off a road loss to UNC after reeling of several wins in a row.

Boston College Offense vs Clemson Defense

The Eagles like to pound it on the ground and move the ball to the tune of 155 rypg. QB Chris Crane is not the most fleet of foot, but he can get himself out of sticky situations in the pocket if need be. However, last week BC was held in check with just 40 total rushing yards. Crane will spread the ball around to five or six receivers and BC has some of the better TEs in the ACC.

Clemson's defense has not been the problem this year. The Tigers are giving up 17 points per game and 12ppg on the road. The team is led by their experienced secondary, but is weak at the linebacker spot. Clemson's undersized, but fast defensive line will have their hands fu
ll with a BC o-line.


Clemson Offense vs Boston College Defense
It is likely both Willy Korn and Cullen Harper will play at QB on Saturday. It is not likely to make much of a difference between the two as neither as played to expectations in 2008. RB James Davis is having a good senior year, but not the kind he wanted to turn away the NFL for. CJ Spiller should be a go after sitting out the last few weeks. WR Aaron Kelly had a break out game last time against Georgia Tech. You hear all these names I have rattled off and you wonder why Clemson has struggled so much? It is the inexperienced offensive line and lack of red zone conversions.

I thought BC had a pretty good defense until last week against UNC when they gave up 45. I will call it a one week fluke. The strength of this defense if right up the middle at the DT spot led by BJ Raji. Losing LB Brian Toal was a huge hit to the LB corps. The Eagles are giving up 109 rypg and just 160 through the air making them statistically one of the best in the ACC.

Prediction
Looking at this line it seems like a sucker bet to me. BC is getting around 3 points for the home game, but other than that it is basically a pick'em. Clemson interim coach Dabo Swinney had they off week to prepare and start putting in more of his system and principles, but I think this Tiger team is already lost. BC is usually the type of team that does not beat themselves and Clemson is that kind of team. I will take BC at home to cover the -4.

Boston College 20 Clemson 14
Boston College Covers -4


Last Week: 3-2 ATS, 3-2 SU
Season: 23-9-2 ATS, 23-11 SU


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Auburn-Ole Highlights SEC Under Card for Nov 1

Part 1 of my predictions for November 1 includes Auburn at Ole Miss which is the highlight of the SEC under card this Saturday. Some of the SEC takes a small breather this week with three teams going outside the conference.

Auburn @ Ole Miss
Saturday 11:30 AM CT Raycom


After Tommy Tuberville left Ole Miss for Auburn, could the Rebels possibly put their former coach out of a job with a win? Auburn is reeling right now having lost another 14 point lead to West Virginia last week in their third straight loss. Ole Miss is coming off a hard fought, emotional win at Arkansas last week.

The Tigers have not shown me anything that makes me think they can go on the road and beat Ole Miss. If I pick Auburn, I am going off the idea that they have more talent than Ole Miss (debatable) and eventually they have to get a win. Well a win is coming next week against Tenn-Martin (I think), so I am going with the team that has shown me more – Ole Miss.

Pick: Ole Miss

Tommy may be making some phone calls this November

Arkansas St @ Alabama
Saturday 2PM CT


Alabama is going to win this one. LSU is next week so either they come out gangbusters and rest players or it is tight at halftime and they blow them out in the 2nd half.

Pick: Alabama

Tulsa @ Arkansas
Saturday 1PM CT


Tulsa is ranked and a pretty good football team. Arkansas is improving as the season goes on, but still has a long way to go. This is Tulsa’s chance to beat a “Big Boy” on the road. The only team Arkansas has beaten that is even close to Tulsa is Auburn and the Tigers are looking worse and worse by the week. I will take Tulsa in this one.

Pick: Tulsa

Kentucky @ Miss St
Saturday 1:30 PM CT


Last year, the Bulldogs spoiled Kentucky’s emotional high after games against LSU and Florida by dominating the Wildcats in Lexington. Don’t expect a lot of offense in this one as both have QB issues and Kentucky is without their top rusher. Neither of these teams are as good as they were last year, but I think Miss State has fallen farther. Outside of the Florida game, UK has been very competitive in losses to Alabama and South Carolina.

Pick: Kentucky

Tulane @ LSU
Saturday 7PM CT

LSU’s defense should be pretty upset after Georgia hung 52 on them (really on 38, but who’s counting) last week. Tulane is a better football team than in past years, but LSU should win this one easily.

Pick: LSU

Later in the week, I will have previews of Tennessee-South Carolina and Georgia-Florida.


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Last Week: 3-2 ATS, 3-2 SU
Season: 23-9-2 ATS, 23-11 SU



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ACC Predictions for Oct 28 Part I

Let's kick off the week looking at some of the undercard games in the ACC this weekend.

Miami @ Virginia
Saturday 12PM Raycom


Both of these teams are on hot streaks as of late, especially Coastal Division leader Virginia who has won 4 in a row. If the Cavaliers win out, they will be going to Tampa for the ACC Championship Game. It was hard to imagine that after a 31-3 loss at Duke just over a month ago.


It is no coincidence Virginia has done much better with the return of Cedric Peerman at running back. However, QB Marc Verica has shown the calmness rarely seen from a former backup thrust into the starting role. The defense is being led by a very good group of linebackers playing a 3-4 scheme.

Miami has shown they can win higher scoring games (Duke) and low scoring games (Wake Forest) the last two weeks. The Hurricane defense was tested early last week, but stiffened the rest of the way and came up with big stops in the 4th quarter.


After seeing how Virginia came from an 11 point deficit to dominate two touchdown favorite Georgia Tech on the road last week, it is hard to go against the Wahoos. Miami has been improving, but is still inconsistent on both sides of the ball from week to week. Virginia has a rock in Peerman and they ride him to victory.

Pick: Virginia


Duke @ Wake Forest
Saturday 3:30 ESPN360


These two teams appear to be headed in opposite directions as the season goes along and it is not the way most anticipated back in August. Wake Forest has been disappointing after a win at FSU losing 3 out of their last 4. Duke went on the road and beat Vanderbilt last week, a huge win for David Cutcliffe and the ACC.

The biggest downfall for Wake has been their offense, especially from QB Riley Skinner. RB Josh Adams had a big week last week rushing for over 100 yards. Surprisingly, Duke has been winning with their defense in Cutcliffe’s first year in Durham.

This game has been a lot closer than expected the last few years. I think Wake Forest takes better care of the ball this week and survives a close one at home.

Pick: Wake Forest

Later in the week, I will preview Clemson @ Boston College and Florida State @ Georgia Tech
.


Last Week: 3-2 ATS, 3-2 SU
Season: 23-9-2 ATS, 23-11 SU


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Monday, October 27, 2008

SEC Power Rankings After Week 9

In addition to ranking the SEC, check out the combined rankings with the ACC thrown into the mix as well.

1. Alabama
The Crimson Tide just keeps rolling through the SEC with an impressive road win over a competitive Tennessee. Ark St at home this week before the big showdown at LSU.

2 (tie). Florida
Gators were very impressive in dismantling Kentucky. A huge game this weekend that will decide the SEC East against Georgia.

2 (tie). Georgia
Bulldogs went on the road and were in control for 60 minutes against LSU. Knowshon Moreno vaulted himself back into the Heisman with a big game. UGA heads to Jax trying to replicate last year’s energy.

4. LSU
LSU’s quarterback situation finally reared its ugly head on Saturday. I thought the lines were disappointing too, but this is still a very good team overall.

5. South Carolina
There is a pretty big drop from 4 to 5 in the ranking
s, but give South Carolina credit for rebounding after two early SEC losses.

6. Ole Miss
Rebels have played the good teams tough, but lost to South Carolina head to head at home so I rank them at 6 all else equal. Ole Miss is ahead of where I thought they would be in year 1 under Houston Nutt.
SI.com
7. Vanderbilt
8. Kentucky
9. Arkansas
10. Auburn
11. Tennessee
12. Miss State


I am not so sure top to bottom, the ACC isn’t the SEC’s equal at this point in the season. I mean Duke did go into Nashville and beat Vanderbilt. The SEC is clearly better at the top, but after LSU there is a huge drop off to the rest of the conference right now.

Combined ACC & SEC Rankings
1. Alabama
2(tie). Florida
2(tie). Georgia
4. LSU
5. Florida State
6. Virginia
7. Maryland
8. North Carolina
9. Virginia Tech
10. Georgia Tech
11. South Carolina
12. Ole Miss
13. Boston College
14. Miami
15. Vanderbilt
16. Kentucky
17. Wake Forest
18. Clemson
19. Duke
20. Arkansas
21. Auburn
22. Tennessee
23. Miss State
24. NC State

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Last Week: 3-2 ATS, 3-2 SU
Season: 23-9-2 ATS, 23-11 SU


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ACC Power Rankings After Week 9

Below the ACC Rankings, check out the combined ACC & SEC Power Rankings 1-24.

1. Florida State
The Seminoles appeared to have discovered their offense after some early season woes. FSU has a ACCCG in it sights, but has big showdowns with Georgia Tech and Maryland looming.

2. Virginia
What a climb from the depths of the ACC standings for Virginia! Ever since getting Cedric Peerman back, UVA has been a force in the ACC. Al Groh is in the running for a second straight coach of the year award after being left for dead in September.
SI.com

3. Maryland
So maybe the Terps have achieved a small level of consistency by beating a team they were supposed too. Maryland is another mid-year reclamation project who earlier this year lost to Middle Tenn State.

4. North Carolina
I thought after Brandon Tate went down, UNC would have real trouble on offense. Shows how much I know as they exploded for 45 against BC.

5. Virginia Tech
The Hokies are reeling on offense even more so than before with both Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon going down in the loss to FSU. However, VT still controls their destiny in the Coastal Division.

6. Georgia Tech
The loud pop you heard may have been Georgia Tech’s ACCCG hopes popping along with the rest of the homecoming balloons in Saturday’s loss to red hot Virginia. The Yellow Jackets have to find a way to hold onto the ball Saturday vs FSU.

7. Boston College
8. Miami
9. Wake Forest
10. Clemson
11. Duke
12. NC State

I am not so sure top to bottom, the ACC isn’t the SEC’s equal at this point in the season. I mean Duke did go into Nashville and beat Vanderbilt. The SEC is clearly better at the top, but after LSU there is a huge drop off to the rest of the conference right now.

Combined ACC & SEC Rankings
1. Alabama
2(tie). Florida
2(tie). Georgia
4. LSU
5. Florida State
6. Virginia
7. Maryland
8. North Carolina
9. Virginia Tech
10. Georgia Tech
11. South Carolina
12. Ole Miss
13. Boston College
14. Miami
15. Vanderbilt
16. Kentucky
17. Wake Forest
18. Clemson
19. Duke
20. Arkansas
21. Auburn
22. Tennessee
23. Miss State
24. NC State


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Last Week: 3-2 ATS, 3-2 SU
Season: 23-9-2 ATS, 23-11 SU


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Friday, October 24, 2008

Ole Miss-Arkansas Highlights Remainder of the Weekend


The SEC has lots of good action this weekend outside of the big ones with Alabama-Tennessee and Georgia-LSU. Ole Miss-Arkansas is the most intriguing match up of the remainder of the SEC slate with Houston Nutt returning to Fayetteville for the first time as Rebel Head Coach.


Kentucky 5-2 at Florida 5-1
Saturday 12:30PM

After the fast start for the Wildcats, they have been brought back to reality the last few weeks. Florida is coming off a bye after dismantling LSU two weeks ago. Next week, the Gators play Georgia in a huge game so common sense would say they might be a looking a little ahead. I think Florida jumps out to an early lead, but you may see a late Kentucky cover.

Middle Tennessee State 2-5 at Mississippi State 2-5
Saturday 7:00 PM

MTSU gets another crack at a big boy having already defeated Maryland this season. However, that is by far the best win for the Blue Raiders who are just 2-5. Miss State followed up the upset of Vanderbilt with an egg at Tennessee 34-3. The Bulldogs should win this one with their pass defense slowing down the MTSU aerial attack, but 11.5 points seem like a lot.

Duke 3-3 at Vanderbilt 5-2
Saturday 3:00 PM

Vanderbilt's lack of offense has finally caught up to them the past two weeks where the Commodores have not been able to win the turnover battle. Duke had a hot start to the season, but has also cooled the last two weeks. I think Mackenzi Adams plays better this week and Vandy gets bowl eligible with their 6th win of the season.

Ole Miss 3-4 at Arkansas 3-4
Saturday 7:00 PM

Arkansas is playing as the home underdog despite beating Auburn and losing by 1 point at Kentucky last week. Everyone knows Houston Nutt will have a little extra motivation considering his unceremonious exit from Arkansas after last year. The Razorbacks’ lack of ability to stop the run may be the difference in this one as Ole Miss averages 162 on the ground and Arkansas is giving up 169. I like Ole Miss in a barn-burner.

Recap...
Florida over Kentucky
Miss State over MTSU
Vandy over Duke
Ole Miss over Arkansas

In case you missed them, here are links to my Georgia-LSU Preview and Alabama-Tennessee Preview.

Last Week: 2-1 ATS, 3-0 SU
Season: 20-7-2 ATS, 20-9 SU


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Boston College-North Carolina Leads ACC Slate For October 25

Looking around the rest of the ACC...Boston College travels to North Carolina in a very important game for ACC supremacy. Other big games this week are Georgia Tech and Virginia and Va Tech traveling to FSU.

Boston College 5-1 at North Carolina 5-2
Saturday 12:00 PM

This is a huge game for BC who is suddenly right in the thick of the Atlantic race after upsetting Va Tech last week. UNC is coming off a devastating road loss to Virginia where the Heels led the entire game. The Tar Heels offense really suffered without WR Brandon Tate is out for the season with a knee injury. That is not good news considering BC has one of the best defenses in the ACC. I think BC is starting to get things going with Chris Crane at QB and pulls out the road upset win.

Wake Forest 4-2 at Miami 4-3
Saturday 12:00 PM

Where has Wake Forest’s offense gone the last three games? The Deacons have scored 29 points total their last three games. Meanwhile, Miami may be regaining some confidence after two ACC losses by three points each with two wins in a row. If Wake wants to stay in the ACC race, this is a must win for them. For Wake to pull off the road win, they need to win the turnover battle and the rushing battle. I think Miami has played good teams better than Wake has so I will take the Hurricanes at home.

NC State 2-5 at Maryland 5-2
Saturday 3:30 PM

So which Maryland team is going to show up this week? Maryland is undefeated at home this year winning convincingly in all of those games. Also, the Terps have largely owned this series that was one of the best rivalries in the conference upon Friedgen’s arrival and Phillip River’s stay at State. I think Maryland win this one pretty comfortably.

Duke 3-3 at Vanderbilt 5-2
Saturday 3:00 PM

Vanderbilt's lack of offense has finally caught up to them the past two weeks where the Commodores have not been able to win the turnover battle. Duke had a hot start to the season, but has also cooled the last two weeks. I think Mackenzi Adams plays better this week and Vandy gets bowl eligible with their 6th win of the season.


Recap...
Boston College over North Carolina
Miami over Wake Forest
Maryland over NC State
Vanderbilt over Duke



In case you missed it, here is my Georgia Tech-Virginia Preview and Florida State-Virginia Tech Preview.

Last Week: 2-1 ATS, 3-0 SU

Season: 20-7-2 ATS, 20-9 SU

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LSU-Georgia Preview and Prediction


Georgia 6-1 at LSU 5-1
Saturday 3:30 PM
Line: LSU -1


Both Georgia and LSU still have national title aspirations, but one of their hopes may be dashed on Saturday as the teams meet in Baton Rouge. Georgia is coming off two straight East Division wins over Vandy and Tennessee. LSU bounced back from their loss at Florida with a road win over South Carolina last Saturday.

Georgia Offense vs LSU Defense
The Bulldog Offense has been a bit of a mystery this year because of their lack of point production. They have racked up yards between the 20s, but have really struggled in the red zone. I would advise more hand offs to Knowshon Moreno as a cure to this. QB Matt Stafford is not living up to his pre season hype yet, but at least this year he has a bona fide threat at wide out in AJ Green. The UGA o-line is young and inexperienced. Many times Mark Richt leaves in max protect on passing plays to help out his shuffled line.

A young UGA offensive line has LSU’s d-line licking their chops. This unit is one of the best in the country and goes 8 deep with little drop off. Take out the Florida game and this defense has played like one of the best in the nation all year. In their only loss, LSU was not able to stop the run against Florida. The secondary is not as good as in recent years, but is still a solid unit.

LSU Offense vs Georgia Defense
The Tiger Offense is one of the most talented collections of 10 players in the country. But the QB position has been a work in progress with Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch splitting time; Lee is the passer and Hatch the runner. RB Charles Scott is a punishing, downhill runner who LSU relies on to move the ball. The WR corps is very talented as well let by Brandon LaFell. The o-line is one of the best in the SEC, but sometimes does not play to its potential.

Defensively, Georgia has been solid this year, but not spectacular. The strength of the unit is their run defense where they are allowing under 70 ypg. UGA does not blitz very much relying on their front four to get pressure. The secondary has a glaring hole at cornerback in Bryan Evans. Evans was replaced last week after giving up two TD passes his way. Georgia plays a more conservative style of defense than LSU allowing them to prevent the big play, but not creating a lot either.

Prediction
I think this one has the makings of a classic SEC 12 round bout. Both of these teams have been blown out and know one more slip up and they are out of the national title picture. LSU’s lines would scare me if I am Georgia considering how young the Bulldog o-line is. LSU is tough at home, but so is Georgia under Mark Richt on the road. I like Georgia’s playmakers better on offense and think they have a huge difference maker in Knowshon Moreno. The redshirt sophomore has done very well despite a young o-line and I think he gets back in the Heisman race with a big day in Death Valley.

Georgia 23 LSU 21
Georgia Covers +1

Last Week: 2-1 ATS, 3-0 SU
Season: 20-7-2 ATS, 20-9 SU

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Alabama-Tennessee Preview and Prediction



Alabama 7-0 at Tennessee 3-4
Saturday 7:45 PM
Line: Alab -5

The rivalry between Tennessee and Alabama has always been a heated one and it may be the hottest it has ever been for Phil Fulmer. The Volunteers are just 3-4 and in danger of missing a bowl for the second time in three years. Meanwhile, it is national title talk for the 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide who have survived back to back scares after a demolition of Georgia three weeks ago.

Alabama Offense vs Tennessee Defense
HC Nick Saban does not make any secrets about what he wants to do on offense. He wants to hand the ball off and lets his o-line manhandle you. He will throw in some passes to keep you off balance, but the Tide are at their best when they can control the line of scrimmage. QB John Parker Wilson is having an excellent senior season after getting a big, new toy to play with in true freshman WR Julio Jones. The o-line has at least two All SEC players led by T Andre Smith and anchored by C Antoine Caldwell.

Tennessee thought they would have a pretty stout run defense this season and they have allowing under 3 ypc on the ground thus far in 2008. But they will face their biggest test of the year stopping the run. S Eric Berry may be the best defensive player in the SEC, but he needs some help in the secondary. Surprisingly, the Vols D has actually played better on the road than at home giving up 30 more ypg in Knoxville.

Tennessee Offense vs Alabama Defense
QB Nick Stephens replaced Jonathan Crompton three weeks ago and has held onto to the ball much better than his predecessor with 0 INT so far. However, the Vols offense is still anemic especially in the passing game where they are averaging under 200 ypg. Lennon Creer is the latest tailback to get a crack as he split time with starter Arian Foster in last week's win over Miss State. The o-line has been a huge disappointment for a unit thought to be one of the conference's best in the pre season.

Alabama has a huge hole to fill in the middle of the defense this week as they will be without massive DT Terrance "Mount" Cody. The Tide's defense is predicated on pressure from the line allowing LBs to fill gaps and stop the run which they are doing at 66 ypg. The pass defense stats are a little misleading considering Alabama had led every minute of 2008 until Ole Miss briefly jumped out 3-0 last week. It will be interesting to see how Alabama adjusts with out their anchor inside.

Prediction
These two teams are pretty even on defense, but Alabama is some much farther ahead on offense. This may end up being Fulmer's last stand even though a decision may have already been made on his future. If the Vols are to upset the Tide, they will need turnovers and a breakout game from their offense. I just cannot see that happening from the seven games I have seen this season.

Alabama 28 Tennessee 13
Alabama Covers -5


Last Week: 2-1 ATS, 3-0 SU
Season: 20-7-2 ATS, 20-9 SU


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Georgia Tech-Virginia Preview and Prediction


Virginia 4-3 at Georgia Tech 6-1
Saturday 3:30 PM
Line: GT -14


Two one loss teams from the ACC's Coastal Division meet on Saturday afternoon as Virginia travels to Georgia Tech. The Cavaliers are off a comeback OT win over UNC while Georgia Tech defeated Clemson on the road last Saturday. Virginia was left for dead after a 31-3 loss at Duke, but has ripped off three straight wins at home.

Virginia Offense vs Georgia Tech Defense
Nobody was sure what UVA would bring on offense after starting QB Peter Lalich was dismissed, but the Cavaliers have blossomed under Marc Verica. RB Cedric Peerman has returned the lineup and provided a much needed boost to the running game. The young offensive line is starting to gel led by Eugene Monroe, a likely top 10 NFL pick.

Georgia Tech's D has not missed a beat under new DC Dave Wommack. The line is the strong suit led by three seniors and a sophomore. The Yellow Jackets are allowing under 5 yards per pass attempt this season, but will be without top CB Jahi Word-Daniels this week out due to a hamstring. GT has given up just 14 points in their last 3 home games.

Georgia Tech Offense vs Virginia Defense
Surprisingly, a Paul Johnson team is being led by their defense and not the offense. QB Josh Nesbitt returned to action last week for the first time since Sept 27. RB Jonathan Dwyer is the leading rusher the B-Back position and Demaryius Thomas has turned into Nesbitt's favorite target at wide out. Many teams have tried to stuff the middle and force the ball outside. But the biggest thing stopping Johnson's offense thus far has been turnovers.

Virginia is led by their linebacking corp and the nation's sack leader from that position Clint Stintim. The Cavs defensive numbers have improved greatly over the last 3 ball games, but all of those were at home. In road games, UVA is giving up 38 ppg including 233 ypg on the ground.

Prediction
I think it may be time for another break out game for Georgia Tech. After two straight weeks of the offense sputtering, Nesbitt and Dwyer are due for a big game. If Virginia wants to pull off the upset they have to create turnovers. I like Georgia Tech to open up the flood gates early on a road weary Wahoo football team.

Georgia Tech 30 Virginia 14
Ga Tech Covers -14

Last Week: 2-1 ATS, 3-0 SU

Season: 20-7-2 ATS, 20-9 SU


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FSU-Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction



Virginia Tech 5-2 at Florida State 5-1
Saturday 3:30 PM

Line: FSU -5


The Seminoles return home after two straight road wins in the ACC over Miami and NC State. Meanwhile, VT is headed on the road for the second week in a row after losing last Saturday to Boston College. Both of these teams have aspirations of playing in Tampa, but another ACC loss puts them in a tough spot the rest of the way.


Virginia Tech Offense vs FSU Defense

The Hokies offense was starting to show signs of improvement in Lincoln, NE a few weeks ago but has regressed over the last two games. QB Tyrod Taylor is leading Va Tech to barely over 100 ypg passing. VT is depending on an improving running attack and a stout defense to give them good field position.


FSU's defense has been very stout against the run allowing less than 80 ypg on the ground and just 247 total. The 'Noles are battling a lot of injuries on defense though and could be without some key players this weekend.

FSU Offense vs Virginia Tech Defense
QB Christian Ponder has stepped to the forefront in the competition with D'Vontrey Richardson for the starting job. The Seminoles have found a running game this year behind Antone Smith that has limited the pressure on Ponder. FSU has been very balanced on offense averaging over 200 ypg with the run and the pass.


VT's defense is good, but is not as dominant as some of the great defenses under HC Frank Beamer. However, the unit has been doing a good job of creating turnovers and is led by CB Macho Harris.


Prediction

I think we may be seeing the beginning of these teams heading in opposite directions. Va Tech rebounded nicely from an opening game loss, but has really struggled on offense lately and the defense looks to be tiring a bit. Meanwhile, FSU is starting to find their stride especially in the run game. I like FSU at home led by RB Antone Smith.


Florida State 27 Virginia Tech 20

FSU Covers -5


Last Week: 2-1 ATS, 3-0 SU

Season: 20-7-2 ATS, 20-9 SU

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